Tampa designer Marisu Miranda shows at Dominican Republic Fashion Week
Remember this dress?
Gorgeous, no? Tampa designer Marisu Miranda, above, made it last fall in tribute to Garavani Valentino. Now Miranda's back in the news. Yesterday through Sunday, she's showcasing her one-of-a-kind fashions at the second annual Dominican Republic Fashion Week. Then, the third-generation designer will fly to her native Spain as her family is honored for its contributions to the fashion world.
Before Miranda headed for Santo Domingo, I caught up with her in her Tampa studio, Marisu Miranda Moda. It's at 1724 S Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, in the old Queen's Fabric storefront. Miranda still sells fabrics, but her bread-and-butter is creating custom women's fashions -- including wedding dresses.
"The best way to describe it is, we're compatible to Neiman Marcus," Miranda said. "However, everything is exclusive, custom-made and much better quality."
Everything she designs is one-of-a-kind. "We never duplicate anything," Miranda said. Each dress takes three months to make; it took four years to design the collection for Dominican Republic Fashion Week.
But boy, are they exquisite! The collection is called Volar (Spanish for "to fly" or "flight"). It's all about hand-painted birds and fabrics flown in from around the world. Check out the goods.
To buy fabric from Marisu Miranda Moda, stop by Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sunday. For a one-of-a-kind gown, call (813) 258-2805 to make an appointment.
Oh, and you can keep up with Miranda's Fashion Week exploits on Twitter @MarisuMiranda. Keep reading for more of my interview with Moda.
This is only the second year for Fashion Week in the Dominican Republic?
Huge. It has 70,000 people last year. The venue fits like 3,000 people for each show, so it's one of the biggest there is.
What sorts of things did you learn from your relatives that a first-generation designer wouldn't know?
My god, everything. That's where we started from scratch. We didn't have access to all the things that I learned traveling around the world. So I learned everything, from customer service, how to treat people, what people need, sizing, pattern making, painting fabrics, hand beading, everything.
What are some of your influences?
Everything is very vintage and hand-worked. Luxury. Luxury. Very modern and very vintage, mixed.
For spring and summer, what are the trends we should latch onto, and what's not worth the investment?
It's always about fun print, colors, comfortable linens. But it's all about big chunks of accessories this season. It's hard to say because the way trends work, they don't reach Tampa and Florida at a level that is trendy. So what you ask me professionally "trendy," I could tell you something totally opposite of what's going to happen here. So it's very hard to predict it that way. Here, we are behind seasons. My fabrics are designed three years in advance.
What can we look out for three years from now?
Again, more hand-painted, more going back to basics.
After fashion week, what happens to these gowns?
I sell everything.
We never duplicate anything. Never will. That's why we're in this business. We can do similar things. It's all inspirational. That's why we don't have boutiques. We only customize for people. We don't believe that this dress fits different body types anyway.
So these have already been customized for someone?
No. They're for Fashion Week.
And then someone could come in and purchase it?
We don't work that way. ... We like to know that you like it, but now if I were to design this dress for you, I would have to change it 90 percent, 'cause it was not made for you. I analyze your body, your skin, what's the occasion? And that's going to change the whole dress.
Text and photos: Deal Diva Dalia